Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces the publication of its fourth annual sustainability report, entitled, ‘Sustainability Report 2014: Facing Challenges with Innovation’.
The report is being publicized at a momentous time in Zain’s development as the company faces a challenging operational context, yet continues to hold its regional leadership role in pursuing its sustainability agenda and supporting its communities through outreach activities such as capacity-building, education, socio-economic development, and environmental stewardship.
This year’s report, which is published exclusively online (www.zain.com/social-responsibility/sustainability-report/) through an interactive interface that is user-friendly and minimizes the company’s environmental footprint , received ‘limited assurance’ by Deloitte’s Enterprises Risk Services arm, confirming the accuracy of the content provided.
As in previous editions, the report adheres to the G4 reporting guidelines as set by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and highlights the lengths Zain is willing to go to in order to represent itself transparently and honestly.
A number of corporate social responsibility and sustainability highlights from Zain’s activities in 2014 included the company being recognized as the most transparent and least corrupt organization in Kuwait by the Kuwait Transparency Society, the local chapter of Transparency International, due to its accurate and effective disclosure processes.
Zain also developed a comprehensive Employee Training and Development program to develop its internal human capital in line with its strategic pillar of People Development.
Commenting on the publication Zain Group’s Chairman, Asaad Al Banwan said, “We are proud of the contribution we continue to make to businesses and communities across the region in the markets in which we operate. At Zain, we recognize the value of pursuing a triple bottom line, and we take this approach to our business operations very seriously. In these increasingly trying times, we will continue to ensure that our sustainable business practices and community outreach activities are in line with both global and industry best practices.”
Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said, “The GSMA has estimated that the mobile industry expected to add $108 billion to GDP across the MENA region of over the next 12 years while helping to generate an additional 5.9 million full-time jobs.”
Furthermore Gegenheimer noted, “As one of the region’s leading mobile operators and socially conscious organizations, it is fundamental that we continue to actively adopt solutions that positively impact society and affect our growth. In a region where conflict, rising unemployment and human displacement are damaging the very fabric of our societies, we firmly believe that we play a pivotal and constructive role by actively supporting socio-economic development and promoting the innovative potential of the region. Now more than ever, we believe in the complete integration of organizational success of Zain with the social, economic and environmental well-being of our communities.”
In the current report, some key highlights that Zain has elaborated on include improving its green credentials as the company installed 169 solar and DG Battery Hybrid base stations (representing an increase of 80 per cent from 2013) to improve energy efficiency and reduce the company’s environmental footprint. For example the company reduced carbon emissions in Sudan by 4 per cent by pursuing energy efficiency through hybrid installations and base station upgrades.
Zain also highlighted how its operations in Kuwait and Jordan established Innovation centers to help cultivate the innovative capacities of society; tackling the national deficits of youth development and unemployment in the country. Jordan’s Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC) has proven to be a big hit in Jordan, with the Prince of Wales visiting the campus on his most recent tour to Jordan with the King and Queen of Jordan officially launching the campus, indicative of the importance placed by the Kingdom in promoting and supporting innovation in the digital arena. ZINC is today the leading hub for all digital innovation coming out of Jordan.
In Sudan, the company established and equipped the Zain E-Library in Nyala University, enabling around 9,500 students to access essential learning materials electronically. The Zain E-Library gives students access to the tools required to develop their capacities to facilitate improvements to their socio-economic circumstances.
During the course of 2014, Zain South Sudan established the YouthMobile Training Initiative in partnership with UNESCO, the Dev School in Kenya, and the College of Computer Science and Information at the University of Juba. The initiative targets youth, particularly women, and aims to develop the skills necessary for them to develop, promote, and sell mobile applications. The initiative develops the skills and capacity of those involved, enabling them to attain more productive employment and better their socio-economic situation.
Jennifer Suleiman, Head of CSR at Zain Group concluded, “Our contribution to our communities defines who we are as an organization, and we are dedicated to the cause. Over the four years that we have been publishing our annual sustainability reports, we have learned more about ourselves, the environment we live and work in, and the impact of our actions and activities. We pledge to continue learning and improving, and sharing our experiences with the view to our successes being recognized and utilized across the region and even further afield.”